This year’s World Youth Day will be celebrated in the local churches on Palm Sunday (1 April). Pope Benedict’s message for the 2007 World Youth Day was published this week. The message, which is is a meditation on the words of Jesus Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another (Jn 13:34), includes a section entitled The Cross of Christ fully reveals the love of God:
Even though the signs of divine love are already clearly present in creation, the full revelation of the intimate mystery of God came to us through the Incarnation when God himself became man. In Christ, true God and true Man, we have come to know love in all its magnitude. In fact, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “the real novelty of the New Testament lies not so much in new ideas as in the figure of Christ himself, who gives flesh and blood to those concepts -an unprecedented realism” (n. 12). The manifestation of divine love is total and perfect in the Cross where, we are told by Saint Paul, “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Rm 5:8). Therefore, each one of us can truly say: “Christ loved me and gave himself up for me” (cf Eph 5:2). Redeemed by his blood, no human life is useless or of little value, because each of us is loved personally by Him with a passionate and faithful love, a love without limits. The Cross, – for the world a folly, for many believers a scandal-, is in fact the “wisdom of God” for those who allow themselves to be touched right to the innermost depths of their being, “for God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor 1:25). Moreover, the Crucified One, who after the Resurrection would carry forever the marks of his passion, exposes the “distortions” and lies about God that underlie violence, vengeance and exclusion. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sins of the world and eradicates hatred from the heart of humankind. This is the true “revolution” that He brings about: love.
You can read the full text of Pope Benedict’s World Youth Day Message here.